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Claude W. Morgan. ARM1c
USS Salt Lake City CA25
1939-1942
slc4-morgan-c

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USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Claude W. Morgan, ARM1c
US FLAG Claude W. Morgan. ARM1c is deceased...Date Unknown at this time

Comments made on story "The Saga of the Swayback Maru". Partial story from the diary of ball-red-02 Haile H. "Jake" Jaekel

I read with great interest your "Saga of the SLC". Really stirred up old memories. I reported aboard early in 1939 and she was home until 1942. I left her just before her trip to the Komandorskies.

One of the big shocks of my life was flying into Pearl the morning of the eighth and seeing the terrible devastation. Deceased Lt. Dennis Crowley set us down in Battleship oil and we beached at Ford Island.

Our flight to Pago, Pago, we spent most of the night straining gasoline through chamois to eliminate the water. The fifty five gallon drums had been buried at some secret spot. Take off the next day was almost impossible because of a completely slick water surface and no wind.

Seaplanes must get on the step to get enough speed to get airborne. We made several, about one mile, passes with Mr. Crowley rocking the stick back and forth until he finally broke it lose and we got into the air just short of the submarine net. Don't know if we picked up mail...but we did spend a few hours outside the harbor entrance looking deep into the water for submarines.

You mentioned Ensign James W. Davis and ball-red-02 Deceased Edward R. "Reg" Howard, ARM1c ....they became lost...sent out a SOS and wisely landed on the water to conserve fuel. Wotje found us in the air as spotters for the gunnery department. "Up 1000, Down, Right or Left" kept them advised of how well they were doing, which as you recall was dammed well. On one occasion they had as a target a small freighter probably six to eight thousand tons, which they continued to practically drown with water from near misses. Finally a broadside to end all broadsides and it appeared the entire engine room came up with the stack, we sent a "Cease Fire" and after a few minutes the smoke cleared and we could still see her sitting on the surface. We sent a "Resume Fire" but before they could take action she suddenly went down by the bow and sank quickly. By the way.... the crew manning her stern gun kept firing till the end. No lack of guts there.

Lt. Crowley, along with our ordnance crew, modified a one hundred pound water filled training bomb with a fuse and filled it with aviation gas. They called it the The Zacharias Zombie . We dived on an inviting looking target, dropped the bomb, which exploded with one brilliant orange flash, no fire. Perhaps this may have been instrumental in developing Napalm, which as you know added a long burning agent to the gasoline.

You may remember me as the guy who went night wing walking out of a burning SOC with Lt. Tate just before The Battle of Cape Esperance.

By the way, I cut off and have kept the actual piece of aircraft fabric bearing the number thirteen, after it was damaged by gunfire concussion. My old pride and joy went on temporary duty to the USS Vincennes, which went to the bottom of Iron Bottom Bay.


Comments from H. H. "Jake" Jaekel

I remember watching from the fantail, the SOC catapult and catch fire. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that burning airplane. Hope to see you at the reunion in Sacramento and maybe you would bring that piece of fabric to display in the memorabilia room.
Return to "The Saga of the USS SLC"

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1942 Letter from Claude Morgan to Edward R. Howard
Letter found in Edward R. Howard's papers and shared by son Stephen Howard

Men on a Raft, True Story
Australia, 1941
#13 in Victor Division, May 30th, 1942
V Division, "R & R"
Target Practice
Tidbits from ball-red-02 Deceased Don Rholl
SLC Deck Logs Jun. 1942  Oct. 1942  Jan. 1943
1975 SLC Reunion

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